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Politics and Government

Democratic state senator, embroiled in accusations he used a women’s restroom at Capitol, is stepping down

Daniel Kagan said in a statement that “it’s time to pass the torch to new leadership”

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State Sen. Daniel Kagan announced his resignation from the Colorado General Assembly on Wednesday evening, a decision that comes after he was accused of repeatedly using a women’s restroom at the Capitol.

State Sen. Daniel Kagan, D-Cherry Hills Village. (Handout)

The Cherry Hills Village Democrat did not provide a reason for stepping down from his seat two years into his four-year term. The accusations that he misused a restroom were made during the last legislative session.

The Cherry Hills Village Democrat did not provide a reason for stepping down from his seat two years into his four-year term.

“It’s been a great honor to serve the people of Colorado for just short of a decade,” he said in a written statement. “An important obligation of leaders, I believe, is to be open to acknowledging that it’s time to pass the torch to new leadership and, for me, that time is now.  I am comfortable with my decision, largely because I know that we have no shortage of individuals in Arapahoe County who would do a superb job of representing the people of Senate District 26.”

Sen. Beth Martinez Humenik, R-Thornton, and other state Senate Republicans accused Kagan of repeatedly using a women’s bathroom reserved for lawmakers and staff just outside of the Senate chambers during the 2017 legislative session. That was Kagan’s first year in the Senate after serving in the House.

Kagan said he used the restroom only once, calling it an embarrassing mistake made while he was feeling unwell. He also said he was unfamiliar with which restroom was the men’s and women’s because they are unmarked.

However a third-party investigator in a report released in September found he used the women’s restroom in three instances, according to CBS4.

Kagan will formally step down on Jan. 11. The legislative session begins on Jan. 4.

A voicemail left for Kagan by The Colorado Sun on Wednesday evening was not immediately returned.

A spokesman for Senate Democrats said the caucus is confident there will be time to convene a vacancy committee to pick a replacement for Kagan before the session starts.

State Rep. Jeff Bridges, D-Greenwood Village, has already announced his intention to seek Kagan’s seat. Bridges was elected the House Democrat co-whip for the upcoming session. 

“Senator Daniel Kagan has been the conscience of the Senate,” Bridges said in a written statement. “I’m grateful for his 10 years of legislative service.”

Kagan is one of three Democrats who are leaving the Senate in the middle of their terms. The two others, Matt Jones and John Kefalas, are vacating their seats to become county commissioners in Boulder and Larimer counties respectively.

Democrats will control the state Senate when the legislature reconvenes.


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